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Renee Farris headshot

Want To Be in the Know? Add These Conferences to Your Calendar for 2016

By Renee Farris

The calendar is rolling over to a new year, and as we round this corner we’re excited to see what social innovations will occur in 2016. It’s a great time to plan which conferences you want to attend to learn what’s new in the world of sustainability and snag early-bird discount tickets.

In chronological order, here are my favorite conferences coming up this year.

1. Charities @ Work

March 28-30, New York, New York
This conference focuses on employee engagement in corporate citizenship. It’s a small, intimate gathering where honest conversations are exchanged. It's a great place to go if your job is to manage employee volunteer or donation programs.

2. Skoll World Forum

April 13-15, Oxford, England
Nearly 1,000 influential social entrepreneurs, thought leaders and strategic partners will join this forum. The mission, according to the website, is to “accelerate the impact of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage, and large-scale social change.”

To attend, you must be invited due to limited capacity. However, you can always watch the Forum’s live stream, and session videos will be posted to Skoll.org immediately after the forum. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but I hear it’s fantastic.

3. Sustainable Brands

June 6-9, San Diego, California
Sustainable Brands has 11 conferences around the world this year in Sydney, Cape Town, Barcelona, Istanbul, San Diego, Rio, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and a New Metrics conference in Boston. If you only pick one conference in the U.S. to attend this year, you might want to choose this one since it is by far the largest gathering.

4. Verge

Sept. 19-22, Santa Clara, California
“Topics span a range of technologies and trends at the intersection of technology and sustainability: big data, the cloud, smart grid, the Internet of Things, intelligent buildings, connected vehicles, the future of cities, the sharing economy, open-source systems and more,” according to the website.

5. SXSW Eco

Oct. 10-12, Austin, Texas
This was my favorite conference this year. The focus is on “accelerating impact through design, technology and world-changing ideas.” Two competitions are held every year. First, the Startup Showcase, which “highlights entrepreneurial innovation in a slew of categories including cleantech, smart cities and energy.” Second, the Place by Design competition, which is used to provide "insight and inspiration for architects, urbanists and policy makers who are building and revitalizing cities and communities." I have to say though that I don’t fall into any of those categories and I was still incredibly inspired.

6. Net Impact

Location and dates to be determined
The Net Impact Conference is aimed at the next generation of sustainable leaders. Last year, over 2,000 students attended and heard leaders such as Chelsea Clinton speak. The students dress in business attire and most carry portfolios with resumes to give recruiters at booths.

7. Sustainable Brands – New Metrics

Nov. 14-16, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts
This conference will differ from the other Sustainable Brands conference in the U.S. in that it will focus on “measuring and quantifying entirely new forms of business risk and value.” Sustainability leaders will discuss “innovative tools, ideas and methodologies that capture tangible business value and translate it into corporate financial performance.” I haven't attended this conference, but if it's produced as well as the main Sustainable Brands conference, it should be great!

*Photo credit: by Bùi Linh Ngân via Flickr

Renee Farris headshot

Renee is a social impact strategist who works with companies to help them focus on key social and environmental opportunities. She loves connecting with people so feel free to contact her at renee.a.farris@gmail.com.

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